By Mike Stines, Ph.B.
You have a pellet-fired cooker such as my Yoder YS-640 but have a problem trying to find food-grade pellets. You’re not alone.
If you don’t have access to a major sporting goods store (Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Home Depot or similar) where you’re most likely to find food-grade pellets your option is mail order which can be expensive due to shipping costs.
Pellets are made by forming wet sawdust into long pencil-thick rods. The extruded rods are then cut into 1/2-inch lengths. Unlike heating pellets, food grade pellets contain no binders or adhesives. Pellets can be used for the main fuel source for cookers or simply used to provide a smoke flavor to whatever you’re cooking. (I use a smoke generator manufactured by A-Maze-N that is a metal tube that is filled with pellets.)
If you’re mail ordering pellets there are several options including Amazon, CookingPellets.com and BBQr’s Delight (BBQrsDelight.com) among others (Google will give you a number of options).
CookingPellets.com sells 40 pounds of hickory pellets for $25 or 600 pounds of hickory for $396 with a variety of other flavors available.
BBQr’s Delight (my go-to source for pellets) sells a wide variety of pellets in 20-pound bags. Two 20-pound bags of pellets sell for about $50 and that price includes shipping in the U.S. excluding Hawaii and Alaska.
There are numerous other on-line companies offering pellets. The prices and flavors vary.
(Mike serves as our BBQ, Grilling and Gadgets editor. He has a yard full of cooking hardware – a couple of WSM smokers, two propane-fired grills, a Grill Dome Infinity XL ceramic cooker, a Yoder YS-640 pellet cooker and a bevy of miscellaneous cooking equipment. His garage has no room for a car… it’s filled with more cooking gear, various accessories, cases of wood chips and bags of pellets. His third cookbook Mastering Barbecue is published by Random House.)